30 years of the Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence
April 10, 2009 12:47 PM   Subscribe

Thirty years of community fundraising, flawless makeup, genderbending, and hysterically offensive names: the Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence are celebrating their 30th anniversary in San Francisco this weekend with parties, library exhibits, an art show, and their usual over-the-top Easter celebration.

The motto of this collection of drag queen nuns is “go forth and sin some more” and they aim to spread joy, banish guilt, and serve the community. Behind the flamboyant outfits and gender chaos is an ethos of community service: they created the very first safe sex guide for gay men in 1982 and have raised over a million dollars for community services through events and bingo games.

Never ones to hide from controversy, their combination of religious garb and names and over-the-top celebration of queer sexuality has led to denouncements from the Catholic Church including being put on the Papal List of Heretics by the Pope himself in 1987 and has earned the enmity of Americans for Truth About Homosexuality among others.

Sisters are a regular presence at community events and AIDS fundraisers in San Francisco, but they are out in force this weekend. There was a large and exuberant group “in face” on BART last night, and after some debate, we decided that the correct collective noun is perhaps a “sacrilege of Sisters.” If you are in San Francisco, you don’t want to miss the events in Dolores Park on Sunday, including the Easter Bonnet contest at 1 pm and the infamous Hunky Jesus competition at 3:40pm.

(Somewhat previously )
posted by gingerbeer (18 comments total) 13 users marked this as a favorite
> being put on the Papal List of Heretics

And here I thought I had finished writing my list of things to do.
posted by mrzarquon at 12:51 PM on April 10, 2009 [9 favorites]

I totally would have forgotten about this if you hadn't posted about it on MeFi. And me, a mile from Dolores Park. Thanks! I know a couple of Sisters; some of the most fun, generous spirited people I've ever met.
posted by Nelson at 12:56 PM on April 10, 2009

I love San Francisco. My first real visit here, I got, uh, persuaded to help out at a Dyke March t-shirt table, and we were serenaded by the Kinsey Sicks and blessed by some Sisters. I moved here six months later.*

*Not that being serenaded and blessed wasn't fabulous, of course, but the real reason I moved here is the poster of the fpp! Hi, honey!
posted by rtha at 1:01 PM on April 10, 2009

Yay for the sisters!
posted by Craig at 1:19 PM on April 10, 2009

2 blocks from Dolores Park and I'm going to be out of town; arrgh!
posted by dolface at 1:44 PM on April 10, 2009

The Sisters are angels. Where would this city be without Peaches?

Have fun cruising the Man Shelf at Dolores! I'll be at Bring Your Own Big Wheel.
posted by MiltonRandKalman at 2:17 PM on April 10, 2009

Thank you so much for this chance to learn a lot about this group, I had of course heard of the Sisters but had little Idea how much they do all over. Yay from a recovering Catholic!
posted by longsleeves at 2:22 PM on April 10, 2009

Ah, the Sisters.....makes me homesick for the Bay Area, it does. My actual sister once gave me one of their t-shirts for a Christmas present. I was 11 years old.

Many happy returns, and congratulations!
posted by Lipstick Thespian at 2:27 PM on April 10, 2009

I really wish that Hunky Jesus and BYOBW weren't at exactly the same time, especially since BYOBW is just a few blocks from our house. It looks like the cops aren't going to arrest people on Big Wheels after all. Have fun anyway!
posted by gingerbeer at 2:29 PM on April 10, 2009

Yay for the Sisters. I can't believe I missed the 2006 Hunky Jumpin' Jesus on a crucifix pogo stick.
posted by otherwordlyglow at 2:55 PM on April 10, 2009 [1 favorite]

Flawless makeup my well-paddled butt. If anything every Sister I've seen yet seemed to pride themselves on garish Carnaval inspired grease-stick jobs complete with sequins and crazy lashes out to there in improbable colors and textures.

Beards and obvious facial hair seem to be favored, as well. Oh, I get the over the top gender-bending/blending. I'm just expressing my opinion that greasepaint over a beard is about as kisseable as raw baconfat on the floor of a BART train. Your mileage may vary.

Now that I think about it a beard and or obvious facial hair is pretty authentic nun garb.


Other than that, go Sisters!
posted by loquacious at 3:41 PM on April 10, 2009

Hey, we had a Hunky Jesus meetup in the park a few years ago. Claudia and I brought our dogs.
posted by tangerine at 4:52 PM on April 10, 2009

God Lord I miss the sisters, they're amazing. Folsom East in New York is just a sad imitation of my beloved San Francisco.
posted by thankyoujohnnyfever at 6:52 PM on April 10, 2009

My senior year of high school, we put on Execution of Justice, a play about the Harvey Milk/George Moscone shootings, trial, and subsequent reaction to the verdict in San Francisco. We had Sister Boom Boom, who likes to be called Jack Fertig now, come in for an hour or so to chat. He's one very interesting guy and it was a real pleasure to be able to meet him and talk about such a fascinating period of San Francisco history.
posted by zachlipton at 11:25 PM on April 10, 2009

This is great, thanks.

(Of course the Berlin order underwent several schisms.)
posted by kolophon at 4:23 AM on April 11, 2009

If any SF mefites want to meet up, memail or otherwise contact us. We're heading over soon.
posted by gingerbeer at 11:53 AM on April 12, 2009

Boy there were a lot of people in the park today. Here's a snapshot. I didn't see much of the festivities, a bit too crowded and loud for me. But lots of beautiful boys and gyrls.
posted by Nelson at 6:51 PM on April 12, 2009

Wow that was a metric ass-ton of people!
posted by loquacious at 8:30 PM on April 12, 2009

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